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March 1, 2005
The Jaws of VictoryBy Greyhawk
Chrenkoff reports on the under-reported good news from Iraq, Mudville presents the rarely reported military successes in the War on Terror.
And yes, the bad guys have some success too. A car bomb has killed 125 people gathered for an opportunity to join the police force in Hilla. CNN mentioned this quickly then switched to an update on the Michael Jackson trial.
But we won't. In spite of the attacks on recruits an ever-increasing number of Iraqis are stepping forward, willing to risk all for their nation's future:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraq Police Service this week graduated 1,993 new police officers from basic police training courses in Sulaymaniyah and Baghdad. Completing the 8-week training courses were 259 police recruits from the Sulaymaniyah Regional Police Training Center and 1,734 recruits from the Baghdad Police Academy. The Baghdad class included 46 female police recruits.
Meanwhile, with little to no fanfare, Operation RIVER BLITZ continues, as US and Iraqi forces, increasingly aided by citizens of Iraq, keep the pressure on the terrorists in al Anbar Province:
Iraqi and U.S. forces continued increased security operations by raiding a mosque, detaining 17 suspected insurgents and seizing several weapons caches throughout the Al Anbar province as Operation River Blitz rolled on for a fifth day.
Gen. Adnan, as he's known, commands a force of about 10,000 men. He formed the commandos last summer, when security here was spinning out of control, at the urging of his nephew, the current Iraqi minister of the interior. He has a tough-guy resume: a former member of Hussein's military intelligence service who was imprisoned in 1996 after he joined a U.S.-backed coup plot. One look at him and you know he is not a man you'd want to antagonize.
Elsewhere in Iraq, a "gang busting Chicago Cop" now brings his expertise to the hunt for insurgents:
MAHMOUDIYA, Iraq -- Jim Roussell and the Marines he works with broke the Abu Ali cell of the Iraqi insurgency in much the same way he caught gang leaders on Chicago's West Side.
This is a good point to pause and turn our attention to those who paid a high price for this progress. While some severely wounded troops are returning to combat, most are not. Fortunately some American companies recognize these folks are extremely desirable employees
Army Capt. Lonnie Moore lost his right leg and -- he thought -- his career last April when his convoy was ambushed on the road to Ramadi, in central Iraq. The injury led to some dark days in Walter Reed Army Medical Center as Moore, 29, began his recuperation and contemplated life outside the military.
Let's hope that trend continues, and that more companies recognize the proven qualities of veterans - wounded and otherwise. These are the sorts of people who make things like this happen, after all:
Doctors Fix a Hole in Iraqi Girl?s Heart
That from ABC World News Tonight, 24 February.
But will Vermont surrender?
Meanwhile, not far from Maine, a group of "activists" has found a way to encourage the terrorists who are fast losing all support in the Middle East. Huntington Vermont is a town with "no diners, one church, two general stores, and 1,800 people":
The closeness of the war, coupled with the state's penchant for taking on social causes, helps explain why a group of activists has gotten enough signatures here and in some 50 other Vermont communities to place resolutions about Iraq on the agendas of their Town Meetings, a New England ritual as local as tapped maple trees and as old as the American Revolution.
Given the overwhelming bad news for terrorists in Iraq this week the story from Vermont couldn't have come at a better time - their spirits were desperately in need of lifting. Perhaps their struggle will be prolonged - maybe even long enough for American judges to do what Jim Klimanski calls "their duty". Jim's a lawyer, representing soldiers impacted by stop-loss who don't want to deploy, and he recently appeared on PBS News Hour:
JIM KLIMASKI: Stop-loss requires a declaration of a national emergency or war. There is no war declared against Afghanistan. There is no war declared against Iraq.
Klimanski has filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court, most recently notorious for banning the Pledge of Allegiance from American elementary schools.
We're winning - don't doubt it for a minute. Despite the best efforts of those who'd gleefully snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Posted by Greyhawk / March 1, 2005 12:40 AM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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